Last month, I turned 25. I had a job, an apartment and a social life. Now, I am unemployed, living with my parents and watching more than one episode of Tipping Point a day. Yesterday, the only item on my to-do list was paint my toenails. Welcome to the millennial lifestyle.
As I unpacked my independent young adult trinkets into my childhood bedroom, I felt like Big Alice trying to squeeze back into Wonderland. My teenage wardrobe had to be decimated in order to squash in clothes that weren’t worn to an 18th birthday party (leopard print was big in 2008, it seems). My grown-up kitchen crockery now dwells in the shed alongside the spiders and sprouting potatoes. Mama Bear has no need for an extra colander and no patience for my unhealthy fascination with colourful yet impractical bowls. This isn’t my house, I am living virtually rent-free to overly nice landlords who take a keen interest in my social life.
It’s an odd little phenomenon, moving back home. In a Benjamin Button turn of events, I have reverted to a stage of youthful dependence. My clothes are washed and my meals are cooked for me, and not because I have a Kardashian-worthy entourage of servants. I’m just 15 again. I’m back writing down the toiletries on Thursday’s shopping list, once again emphasising ‘No, the dark purple ones. With wings. Not the Tesco brand!’
I have somewhat retained my adult perspective, however. A dirty sink is no longer invisible to me. I participate in the panic dance when it’s raining and there are still clothes on the line. I self-scold for leaving the immersion on instead of receiving a bollocking from Mama Bear (sorry Mam, I only left it on once overnight and honestly, I’m madder at myself than you could possibly be).
My biggest fear was boredom, which surprisingly, I have yet to encounter. I am currently tackling a different beast: an unforeseen childlike attachment to my parents.
‘Where are you going?’
‘The bog. Why, are you coming?’
‘Nothing, it’s fine, just go and leave me here to wither in my crushing solitude and eventual demise!’
‘Yeah OK, watch the dinner.’
We do everything together now. I am part of the parental “we.” We discuss our plans for the weekend. We do the crossword together. We advise The Youngest to be frugal with her spending in a foreign country whilst also making plans to visit said country as a trio.
The other day, they went (as a duo) to a wedding which was a good opportunity to catch up on some weird dancing alone around the kitchen. Next week, they’re going on holidays for a whole eight days. With S.O. otherwise engaged due to a hectic work schedule, I am left to both dwell on my recent weight gain and simultaneously eat everything that lingers in this house.
But hey, no shock E.S.B. bill, am I right?! Right?! Every cloud.